Tips for Getting Ready for College With a Disability

tips for getting ready for college with a disability

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  • It’s hard to believe summer break is nearly over.

    That means a new year brimming with new opportunities and new challenges, especially if you’re getting ready to start college.

    If you’re one of the millions of students with disabilities who enroll every year, you may have a few worries about starting your college career.

    College is a big transition, but these days, there are plenty of resources out there to help you make the leap.

    Read on to learn our tips for getting ready for college with a disability.

    Discover Available Support

    If you had an IEP or 504 plan in school, it might worry you to know that it won’t follow you to college. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any support. Many colleges offer their own accommodations, including:

    • Extended time for tests
    • Assistive note-taking technology, like recording devices or laptops
    • Audio versions of textbooks
    • Priority class registration
    • Sign language interpreters
    • Mentorship programs and tutoring

    Remember: laws will protect you from discrimination. If you feel that you are being treated in an unfair way that is impacting your education, contact your school’s mediator.

    Nail Down Transportation

    Transportation may look different for you, depending on your school. For those going to community college or living off-campus, you’ll have to find a way to get to campus every day. Even if you live on campus, you’ll want to know how to get to nearby locations like stores and restaurants.

    For off-campus students, owning a car may become necessary. If you have physical disabilities and need a wheelchair, this may mean looking into buying a wheelchair-accessible car.

    Otherwise, it’s a good idea to look into accessible public transportation in the area. The school may have bus and train schedules. Some even offer shuttles to places of interest.

    Visit Campus Before Classes Start

    One of the most overwhelming parts of starting college is transitioning from a single building to a large, multi-building campus. If this is true for you, a great way to help alleviate your fears is to visit the campus before classes start and the school becomes filled with people.

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    You can identify the location of your dorm and how to get to key places like the cafeteria or library. And if you have physical disabilities, you can find accessible entrances as well as side entrances that are less likely to be crowded.

    Adjust Your Expectations

    Like we said, college is a big leap. But if there’s one way of getting ready for college as a student with disabilities, it’s this: getting your mind ready. We don’t mean ready to learn about algebra or biology, but ready to take on challenges. Yes, college is fun, but you may also have to step out of your comfort zone.

    And that’s ok! The fact that you arrived at a college campus means you already have the potential to take on all of these challenges. Be confident in that, and you’ll have a great year.

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